Who Was St Mark? An 'Ordinary' Christian?

St Paul and St BarnabasMark was born in 1st Century AD.  He was named John but that was a Jewish name and it is thought that when he became a Christian his name was changed to Mark (Marcus) a name that would be more acceptable to the Gentiles the people that he wrote his gospel for.

Mark was a relative of Barnabas and the son of Mary.  It is thought that Mary was a wealthy widow with a large house in Jerusalem, big enough to accommodate a group of praying Christians.   They used her house as a meeting place to pray.  When King Herod imprisoned Peter, the early Christians met in Mary’s house to pray for his release.  God answered their prayer and Peter was released, and it was to Mary’s house that he went to meet up with his fellow Christians. 

Mark was very lucky to have his mum praying for him as he carried out his missions. 

Have you ever fallen out with a friend? 

Well Mark did, he fell out with Paul.

Mark went on his first mission with Barnabas and Paul, but when they arrived Mark decided to leave and go back to Jerusalem.  We don’t really know why he left.  But Paul was quite angry with Mark for abandoning them. 

When they returned to Jerusalem Barnabas wanted Mark to join him on his next mission, but Paul still angry with Mark and disagreed with Barnabas.  It was at that time that Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark with him to go to Cyprus, it seems that this mission went well, because Mark continues with his Christian ministry. 

Barnabas mentored Mark and he grew as a Christian. 

We could learn from this – Perhaps older Christians could mentor younger Christians?

Even though Paul wasn’t impressed with Mark, and Mark had caused a rift between Paul and Barnabas it seems that Mark managed to redeem himself with Paul. 

Mark went on to give support to the growth of the early church and to the spreading of Christianity.

The fact Mark became good friends with Peter and Paul meant he learnt an awful lot from them, I can imagine him listening to the stories of Jesus from Peter, and learning about the deeper meaning of Jesus’ life from Paul.

The Gospel of St Mark 

Mark wrote those stories down, and they became the Gospel of St Mark, the first gospel to be written and the shortest.  It is thought to have been written in Rome in about 60AD.

In his gospel Mark wrote about Jesus as the servant king. That theme ran though out his gospel.  This can be discovered in Chapter 10 – verse 45. 

Mark didn’t have any visions, he didn’t have any supernatural experiences, his faith grew as he did.  He wasn’t perfect, he is what I would describe as an ‘ordinary’ Christian, who served God by supporting the work of others.  He also was used by God to write a Gospel. 

Mark can definitely be called a servant of God.  Ask yourself how much of your life is spent serving and ministering to others?

Children are just as capable of serving and ministering to others, as adults. 

Children can minister to others, by praying, by caring for others, by looking out for people that need help.  They can minister in church taking their place, welcoming people, handing out books, singing in the choir, serving at the altar, reading, and helping with the refreshments. 

Children are valuable members of our churches now, they are part of our church family not just in the future.  A positive experience now will keep them as part of that family even if they move away as teenagers. 

God uses everyone no matter how old or young and sometimes we don’t even know that God is using us. 

Look at your church with the children.  Ask them how they feel they can minister or serve within the church.  Do they feel they belong to the church family?  Help them find their place within your church.

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